Flooding can be a big mess! Not only can it lead to costly damages to your home, but it can ruin your cherished valuables. As a homeowner, you should do everything you can to protect your home from flooding. Water damage coverage is an important way to ensure your biggest investment – your home – is covered.
Here’s everything you need to know about water damage:
What is Flood Insurance?
Flood insurance simply covers the cost of repair for the damages incurred following flooding in your home. Depending on how the water entered your home, your valuables may or may not be covered.
Most insurance companies will offer coverage for flooding that occurs from a burst pipe in their standard home insurance policies, but beyond that, you will need to add other types of water damage coverage (known as endorsements) to your policy.
Types of Water Damage
If you think there’s just one type of flooding that can occur in your home, think again. Unfortunately, there are a number of ways your home can flood, and depending on your existing insurance coverage, you may only be protected against certain types of flooding. It’s important to understand what types of flooding are covered under a policy, especially while shopping around for the right home insurance. Here are some of the ways your home can flood:
Overland water – overflow of a lake or river, heavy rain, or snowmelt that enters your home from a point at or above ground level.
Groundwater – when water enters your home through a basement wall, home foundation, or through the floor.
Sewer backup – water flows into your home from the municipal sewer system, private septic system, or through sump pump failure.
Water and sewer lines – flooding that occurs from a break, tear, rupture, or collapse of a water and/or sewer line.
Is it Worth Getting Water Damage Coverage?
As mentioned, the standard home insurance policy doesn’t provide coverage for all types of flooding. In Ontario, although any type of flooding can occur, overland water flooding tends to be most common as a result of the many beautiful lakes, rivers, and streams scattered throughout the province. Yet, overland flooding coverage would need to be added as an endorsement to your policy, if available.
The cost of flood insurance can be minimal compared to the cost of repairing your home due to flood damages. Consider the risk of certain types of flooding occurring to your home, and decide which endorsements make the most sense for you. Do you live near bodies of water? Are you noticing unpredictability in weather due to climate change? Talk to other people in your neighbourhood – have they experienced any flooding issues? All of these should factor into your decision to purchase additional water damage coverage.
Protect Your Home with the Necessary Flood Measures
Water damage insurance is one important way to protect your home if flooding occurs, but there are also plenty of other things you should be doing proactively to protect your home from flooding. If your home does flood, these measures can significantly reduce the cost of cleanup or repair:
Audit current flood measures
Consider the ways water can currently enter your home, and how you can protect water from flowing into these entry points. At least twice per year, you should be doing the following maintenance: remove debris from your eavestroughs, maintain your plumbing, test your sump pump, and clean out your backwater valve.
2. Make simple upgrades
Start by making simple upgrades over time. Once you’ve checked your existing flood measures, you can remove any barrier to the basement floor drains, store your valuables in watertight containers or remove them from your basement, maintain flood alarms, and install window well covers.
3. Consider complex upgrades
You can also make complex upgrades for extra protection, but ensure you check with your municipality to determine if you need any permit requirements. Start by correcting grading to ensure water flows at least 2m away from the foundation. Below are other complex upgrades to consider to safeguard your home from the risk of flooding:
- Install backwater valves.
- Install a backup sump pump and battery.
- Upgrade to water-resistant windows and install window wells that sit 10-15 cm above the ground.
- Extend downspouts to direct the water at least 2m away from the foundation of your home.
How to Purchase Water Damage Coverage
Purchasing flood insurance can be challenging since you may not know which type of water damage endorsements make the most sense for your circumstances. An insurance broker will act in your best interests and can provide cost-effective options to ensure that you are financially protected from the impacts of flooding in your home. The team at Keller & Associates Insurance Brokers has the expertise and experience to help you find the appropriate coverage to protect your largest investment!